APAGear II Archives Volume 1, Number 1 December, 1998


Introduction to "The Betrayal of Reason - The History of the Judas Syndrome"

by Preceptor Nicholaus Pollotta, Fifth Tier
Perth University Press, TN 1954

Alistair Gillies

The planet of Terra Nova has had a difficult history. For the most part it is a honorable tale of hardship and struggle against adversity but a few dark incidents stain this noble story. Next to the St. Vincent's War perhaps the most shameful of these occurred between the years 1905 and 1913 when the whole planet was in the grips of what was later to be known as the Judas Syndrome.

The St. Vincent's War was certainly the biggest act of folly this planet has ever seen. Its tit for tat escalation continued until it threatened total global economic collapse. The weariness and rebuilding that followed left civilian populations, politicians and militaries alike with a distaste for war. (Although it is interesting to note that this period lead to the rise of Paxton Arms as the leagues rebuilt their shattered armies - arms manufacturing was unpopular and most leagues came to depend on the Badlands manufacturer for military hardware.) The next century and half saw little in the way of conflict between the polar confederations, being content to rely on disapproving rhetoric and trade tariffs against their nominal enemies across the globe.

The scars of the war did begin to fade however and by the end of the nineteenth century both confederations were increasing in aggressiveness, culminating in the onset of the Sandstorm Strikes in TN 1896. The Strikes, a series of border skirmishes and military posturing by the leagues, continued for several cycles but the lessons on the St. Vincent's War were not completely forgotten and neither side was willing to risk escalation and the Strikes fizzled out in TN 1905.

The leagues, however, were not about to let their differences go and were determined to continue their conflict by other means. The intelligence agencies of Terran Nova promised that they could succeed where the militaries had failed. The hot war would become a shadow war, fought with influence, blackmail and assassination. Funding, both overt and covert, for state security boomed as intelligence chiefs got the go ahead to put their long dreamed of projects and operations into action.

This secret war was not the success it was supposed to be. The actions of the opposing agencies largely cancelled each other out, leaving the status quo unchanged. Increasingly bizarre and desperate operations were carried out in effort to show that the agency in question was still in control, still able to tip the scales in their leagues' favour. The agencies had promised the moons and were now desperate to hang onto their influence and funding. In an attempt to curry favour with their political masters the agencies changed track and showed how helpful they could be to them personally. Abruptly the goals of the agencies changed from those of national defense and superiority to those of personal power and influence. Nationalism was replaced with personal agendas, jealousies, insecurities and avarice.

This then was the Judas Syndrome. Starting with intelligence agencies being given a free rein to conduct operations in any way they saw fit with little or no accountability it proceeded through a breakdown in nationalism and personal responsibility and honour to become a global meltdown of treachery and deception. Politicians, spies, military and industrial leaders and other players sold out their countries, their friends and indeed themselves to put themselves head, however temporarily. Enemies were blackmailed, assassinated or smeared ensure the chair was yanked out from beneath them when the music stopped.

What caused this dramatic reversal of the stereotypical Terranovan characteristics of nationalism, self-reliance and personal honour, a malaise that had not seen before or since in Terranovan history? It is possible that the creation of the global confederations in the late seventeenth century lead to a situation where the nation became to be perceived as a distant and meaningless symbol, filled with the dissenting voices of ones neighbors. Certainly the confederations have been anything but harmonious, but this cannot explain the breakdown of allegiances to leagues, city-states and to family and friends. This group madness is still a subject of great debate.

As befits a secret war little in the way of records are available concerning the actions of the various intelligence agencies. Many operations were "unofficial" and were totally undocumented, other records have been destroyed or locked away forever in archives, many important people today still have carefully hidden skeletons in theirs closets from this period. Thus much of the research for this book involved interviewing the smaller players who were willing talk and careful analysis and cross-referencing of secondary material, although the confusion of the time and the deliberate spreading of misinformation means it is unlikely that a complete picture of the period will ever be possible.

Certainly the general population at the time had little idea what was going on. Apart from a general feeling of uneasiness and few more political scandals and unexplained deaths than normal there was little to indicate the desperate measures that were being taken. Perhaps the most public incident was the shooting down and subsequent crash near the city of Prince Gable of a NLC spy satellite by what was suspected to be a prototype Peace River anti-satellite weapon (co-incidentally or not, the NLC subsequently bought a Paxton Arms satellite defense system). However, it was just a matter of time before there was a diplomatic incident that was too important or too public to sweep under the carpet. The slow military rebuilding that had been taking place since the St. Vincent's War exploded into overdrive as all sides prepared for what many believed would be the final conflict between the two confederations. Eventually the trigger came, the public assassination of Southern Republican Prime Minister Lamarquette, regardless of who was behind it, was the final straw. The two great superpowers were set to tilt at each other. In this light the arrival of the Colonial Expeditionary Force cannot be seen as anything but a blessing in disguise.

Preceptor Nicholaus Pollotta is a lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Perth. "The Betrayal of Reason" is a popular but rigorous examination of the causes and history of the Judas Syndrome (although Pollotta confesses the underlining causes are difficult to pinpoint). The book however does have two interesting omissions. In describing the Judas syndrome as "a malaise that had not seen before or since in Terranovan history" he curiously overlooks Terranovan collaborators with the CEF. The book also has remarkably little detail on the role of Humanist Alliance and it's intelligence agency HIRA in the Judas Syndrome. Considering the tight rein the Alliance keeps on information about its own workings it is likely Pollotta was not able access records detailing the Alliance's involvement (HIRA was actively sowing misinformation amongst enemies and allies alike during this period, noticeably increasing the effects of the Judas Syndrome, as part of Operation LongNight.)

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APAGear II Archives Volume 1, Number 1 December, 1998